By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It looks like among some RVers, there’s a bit of insecurity. In a recent poll we asked, “Do you lock you door when you take a walk around the campground?” Way more than half of respondents said they always or most often did so – some 70 percent of you. OK, maybe it’s not insecurity – it’s perhaps just common sense.
Would you like to do more to enhance your RV’s security? Here are a few suggestions that might help.
Cheap and simple: Folks who visit trailhead parking lots are constantly reminded – don’t leave expensive stuff in your cars. Well, as RVers, it’s kind of difficult not to leave some costly equipment in our rigs – there’s no place else to put it. But we can dial back the risk factor by not advertising. If you leave your rig, either pull the blinds, or put your precious goodies out of sight of the windows. If a passing bad guy doesn’t see anything to steal, he may well go looking for “greener pastures.”
The same is true outside of the rig. Leaving a generator loose in the campground is an open invitation for a vanishing act. Chaining them up works to a degree, but bolt cutters can quickly erase that hold-down. Yes, we’ve heard that angle grinders can cut through security cable, but it’s a lot noisier to fire up a generator to run an angle grinder than to snip through a chain. Best yet, if you can, mount your generator under cover – we keep ours secured in the pickup bed, underneath a lockable truck canopy.
Beef up the basement storage: Unless you’ve done some changes on your own, we probably have the key to your basement storage compartment. Yep, that little CH751 key is by far the most common key among RVers. Changing out the lock isn’t a difficult task. You can change to a tubular key, or if you lose things like keys, you can change out to a combination lock with ease. Here’s the combination style on Amazon.com, or if you prefer the tubular style, check this out. [Here’s a 55-second video from the RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, about this topic.]
Set a light night watchman: Motion sensor lights aren’t just for use at home. You can mount a solar-powered motion light or two on your rig easily. Put it up high and it will illuminate a large area around your RV when it senses movement from bad guys, or just Rocky and Bullwinkle. Here’s one we’ve tested.
Go to a keyless entry door lockset: You can keep a secure deadbolt on your door to discourage break-ins but have the modern advantage of keyless entry. Either hit a button on your key fob or push a few buttons to use a combination entry. Or you can do the old-fashioned thing and use a real key – it’s your choice with this replacement lockset. RVLock V4 is a bit on the spendy side – figure $240 for your travel trailer or fifth wheel – but it does everything but sing and dance. Here it is on Amazon. Motorhomers, we can’t find a remote fob style, but a combination or key entry lock we have. A little less money than the towable one we mentioned, too. Here it is.
We’d love to hear your own suggestions on beefing up RV security. Drop a line to Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
Should have pepper spray/handgun in CA.
Most baggage doors are so flimsy a stout screwdriver can pop them open. Changing the lock is a waste of money.
Few owners consider the mindset of a criminal. the criminal does not care about causing damage. The best door lock in the world may be bypassed by breaking a window. Prying, breaking, or smashing is easier than defeating a lock. A criminal doesn’t mind causing $10,000 damage to steal something that costs $50.
I use the LITOM lights all around my Home and they work great. I have 2 more to install on my RV Slides.
The campground should have an exit gate maned by an host to check things out.
I bolted this small safe to part of my bedside shelf: https://www.grizzly.com/products/Pistol-Valuables-Safe-3-Button/BE1194
I slid out the drawer under the shelf and drilled some carefully placed holes, then used short carriage bolts, flat washers, lock washers, and nuts under the shelf. When I re-installed the drawer, it worked normally, no interference from the nuts and bolts. Yes, it could be pried loose, but not easily, and a bad actor would have to know it is there in the first place. I also lock the doors when away from the camper.
While not a bank vault, it is useful for storing small valuables while traveling when I do not want to carry them in pockets. I store my passport, checkbooks, extra cash, event tickets, sometimes my wallet, and the jewelry my wife has along. When I am in states where I am allowed to, I also use the safe for storing a hand gun and ammo.
And if you have a 5er or TT, a hitch lock is a must in my opinion. I’m always surprised at how few people use them. I also have lockable wheel chocks, although I generally only lock them while in storage.
Several years ago I parked next to fellow in a very nice 5th wheel. He had a professionally printed sign in the door window and the same sign in a window on the other side of the rig. The sign read: “Warning! Trap guns inside. Break in at risk of mortal injury.” I never did see the fellow to ask him if the signs were true. It’s probably not a good idea, as it would stop emergency personnel from entering the rig. Also, today some idiot would break in just to steal the guns. Anyway, your article was very good and helpful and reminded me of the signs.
Locking RVs is not insecurity.
It is the very definition of security.
4a : something that secures : protection
b (1) : measures taken to guard against espionage or sabotage, crime, attack, or escape